After the ice-hail-sleet storms of last week left a glossy sheen to the little coating of snow that had already fallen on our vista, yesterday we had a different kind of snowfall. I’m beginning to get used to seeing snow “fall” horizontally past my kitchen windows. The wind whips across the cornfields from the west, the way our house faces, and the snow rushes past as if in a hurry to be somewhere else. In fact, most of the accumulation we get is on our front steps, where the wind sends it into drifts. Gives new meaning to “snowed in.”
But yesterday, the snow fell vertically in those fat snowflakes that act like they have all the time in the world between heaven and earth. Of course, I’ve seen it before. I’ve lived in enough snowy places. Yet there’s something about that kind of snowfall that always makes me pause and watch. It’s peaceful. The wind didn’t stir as the flakes frosted the branches of the huge pine trees outside my kitchen window.
When I let our puppy out, I too stepped out onto the porch. And that’s when it happened.
It was literally so quiet it seemed like I could hear the snow fall. I did a mental accounting of the sounds that normally circle my world. Cars on the faraway highway? No. Dogs barking next door? No. Wind rustling through the trees? No. The crunch of a shovel as a neighbor attempts to clear his driveway? No. The hum of a snowblower? No. Not even the rustle or call of birds.
Nothing. Just silence.
It actually startled me. I called to my husband, “Come here. You gotta come hear this,” when I was actually asking him to come hear . . . the sweet sound of nothing.
Why is that so unusual? When was the last time I was in complete silence? I can’t remember. Silence is rare.
The snow was falling so hard that the barn across the field in front of our house—bright red that provides me with daily delight—had disappeared behind a white curtain. The snow covered the glossy sheen with white powder, evening out the ruts our cars had made earlier and covering the road in front of our house.
I could have stood there all day, soaking in the blessed silence. Of course, it wouldn’t be long before the snowblowers fired up and a four-wheel-drive made tracks down the pristine road.
But for a few moments on a Saturday morning, I stood in wonder . . . and silence.